Living Evidence

The Topics Living Evidence LP (Topic, 1970)

The world of Private Pressing Rock & Roll is very, very dangerous for the price minded record freak. For years, one could stroll into a thrift store or dollar bin and dig up a handful of private or vanity pressings. Since very, very few of these records were listed in Goldmine or other price guides, many record dealers ignored them for Beatles, Elvis, and the now worthless (and thoroughly shitty) Mom's Apple Pie LP with the vagina cover. Then came the internet, followed by ebay, followed by a bunch of momentarily Richie Rich dot.commers, followed by the infamous record auction boom years where one could sell the worst piece of crap records for the stupidest prices, which was fine and dandy as I financed my record collection and a record label from my ebay gains but it also drove up the price of and created a market for real scarcities like private pressings (while also driving prices down on price guide priced common records like David Peel's Have a Marajuana).

The problem with Private Pressing Rock & Roll (PPRR) records being collectible and spendy goes beyond me being a cheap bastard. You have probably figured out that I am not a casual record hound but a digger with a disease. That being the case, I find plenty of great record for less the cost of a greasy spoon breakfast special. The problem with PPRR being pricey is that most private pressings suck. For the most part PPRR is either self released or released by a friend or manager of the artist. Such an arrangement means that there is little or no Quality Control. Sometimes that is what spells the success of a record. I mean, thank god no one was hovering over the Shaggs, trying to tell them that My Pal Foot Foot wasn't up to snuff! Unfortunately, the Shaggs are the exception. Pick up a random PPRR LP and chances are you are in for an evening of mediocrity. A lesser percentage of PPRR have just one or two good songs on them. Often - as with Alter Ego's Obsessional Schizophrenia - a couple good songs are all you need. And once a year or so (which with the volume of records I pick up means once every decade for most of you) I find a PPRR that is 95% - 100% mind blowing. In my record collection of 8,000+ there are couple dozen PPRR records (I don't consider DIY punk or indie labels PPRR) that are astounding - that isn't a ratio you want lay a stake on. (Which brings me to the need for someone to compile all these single great PPRR album cuts. Why there isn't a Killed By Death series of PPRR album cuts is beyond me. Instead we have bootleggers and reissuers rereleasing albums where you buy 9 tracks of mediocrity (and paying good money for 'em) in order to hear one killer song. Or people bidding up so-so albums that are mostly full of crap, thus pumping up the price on all PPRR, good or bad.)

And with that I introduce to you the Topics. I presume the Topics are from Bremerton, Washington, as that is where their record company, Topic Records, originates. The liner notes suggest that an album came before this. What it sounds like I have no idea. Living Evidence is a great mix of 60s pop, Vegas rock, and lounge music. When it works, it works really well and when it doesn't, well, there is your majority mediocrity. The Topics' Living Evidence is one of those "A Few Songs are Cool, the Rest are Drool" records. Here are The Cool, plus a long and entertaining version of Louie, Louie.

hey scott, no connection to the topic(s)

this is charlie megira the guy that produced the los kikes c.d. i think his last c.d shoul be sent to you

he is god, and he is a genious, and he is god.

That Topics record has a killer psych-sounding song called "The Devil" with great drums and some fuzz if I remember?! Along with, at least one other garage track that was for sure enjoyable to me. What record is not "a few are cool the rest are drool"?? That's how 99% of all records are! The more you listen the more you might discover that to be true. I've had about 5 copies of this record over the past 15 years, they always find a happy home...far from a "lounge" record if you ask me, but I'd have to re-visit the album when I find it again.
OK, I found a copy of this I had stashed away and re-visited it just now :) It's not lounge-sounding at at all. This is quintessential NW garage rock for sure. It even has a killer cover of "Louie Louie" worth checking out. Record is somewhat dark with a touch of sunshine-psych, even some nice fuzz guitar. I like this record a lot!
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